Bansi Kara
The New Stateswoman is a 30-something teacher who became tired of having opinions in her own living room. She now publishes them for the world to agree or disagree with. She lives in North London and occasionally likes it.

Entries by Bansi Kara

Immigrants Do Want to Learn English: Where Is The Funding?

(37) Comments | Posted 19 May 2014 | (00:00)

When Sajid Javid, the first Asian secretary of state, talks about assimilation and immigrants learning to speak English, I do not naturally object to anything he is saying. His assertion that respecting a British way of life means "things like trying to learn English" seems sound, if a...

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What is the Benefit of Benefits Street?

(3) Comments | Posted 14 January 2014 | (23:00)

Channel 4's controversial new show, deemed 'poverty porn' by social commentators, TV reviewers and critics, is an uncomfortable, uncompromising experience. Having watched two episodes now and having felt a little bit grubby afterwards, I have questioned not only the motivations of Channel 4 in airing something that has solicited such...

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No Riots Here: Why Tottenham Has Some Hope

(3) Comments | Posted 10 January 2014 | (15:38)

It's not often that you find yourself in the middle of what might turn into a hostile crowd at eight in the evening. It's not often that you watch press photographers jostling for position, surrounded by angry onlookers and see faces of people who have just been on the news....

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Careers Advice - Not Fit for Purpose?

(2) Comments | Posted 12 November 2013 | (23:00)

In the middle of my Year 13 tutor group's UCAS application season, I am reminded of the abject misery of the university application process. The tiresome slog of a personal statement that some say is not worth the paper it is written on, the endless sessions on mock...

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Teacher Training: It Is What You Make It

(0) Comments | Posted 15 July 2013 | (20:35)

Is it ever a good idea to write an article about your first year of teaching, especially if you have chosen to quit? Last week saw the online publication of 'Why I quit Teach First' in Management Today, written by an anonymous graduate who has chosen to leave...

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Oxbridge: Teachers Are Unambitious (Apparently)

(0) Comments | Posted 21 April 2013 | (19:30)

Paul Murphy MP, last week, called Welsh teachers out on their lack of ambition in getting students from state schools into Oxbridge. His statements only serve to put the proverbial icing on the cake in a week when Michael Gove has essentially called teachers lazy. I wonder if...

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A Teacher's Advice to Parents

(0) Comments | Posted 4 April 2013 | (18:56)

It was with a considerably arched brow that I read recently about how The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have issued guidelines to parents on managing problematic behaviours in their children. As a teacher, I have long been an...

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A Univeral Panacea? The Empathy-Led Curriculum

(1) Comments | Posted 28 January 2013 | (21:09)

I keep going on about it and I probably will, simply because it makes good sense. Empathy, or the lack thereof, causes so many of the daily frustrations in teaching and prevents so much of the learning that could take place in the classroom, that it seems foolhardy to ignore...

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A Prayer for Teachers: St Francis and Leadership in Education

(1) Comments | Posted 20 January 2013 | (13:30)

It's not often that I turn to a Catholic prayer to begin anything, let alone a blog post. I count myself, most days, as agnostic. My first encounter with the Prayer of St Francis came, embarrassingly, in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even then, it was a...

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NEET: On the Scrapheap at 20?

(0) Comments | Posted 3 October 2012 | (21:57)

When you look at data, the figures are large, but they turn into rows of numbers on a website. Wasn't it wonderful news that the number of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in England dropped in 2011? That must mean that we have some sort of brilliant system...

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Sir Michael Wilshaw and the 3pm Myth

(0) Comments | Posted 22 September 2012 | (11:26)

This week, for the first time since school started three weeks ago, I left work for an appointment at 4pm. On my way past the school gym, I could see members of staff running the table tennis club. I said goodnight to members of staff on their way to epilepsy...

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Leading a Department for the First Time: Advice Through Bad Metaphors

(0) Comments | Posted 29 August 2012 | (21:57)

You lucky, lucky people. If you have been appointed as a Head of Department, you will of course be looking forward to starting your journey towards changing the lives of myriad young people through your chosen subject. And what a journey that is going to be! I'm not even being...

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The Vagaries of the Exam Board: What's in a C?

(0) Comments | Posted 23 August 2012 | (22:46)

Heads of English across the country must be feeling more than a little hard done by this evening. I certainly feel it and what's worse, nothing I say to my students makes the fact that they didn't achieve the grade they were on track to achieve any better. After all,...

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The Tottenham Riots - One Year On

(1) Comments | Posted 7 August 2012 | (00:00)

This time last year, I was in my flat in Tottenham, wondering whether my street would become the next casualty of the riots that engulfed my local high street. I wrote about the smell of burning and the sense of shock, feeling that the world had gone mad. In the...

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Anyone Can Teach (Fingers Crossed!)

(18) Comments | Posted 31 July 2012 | (00:00)

I can just see it now. Imagine in a few months time, an opening evening for prospective parents at a fairly established academy. Concerned parent approaches teacher, standing cheerfully in a beautifully designed classroom. "I do want to send my child here," Parent says, fidgeting slightly. "And this is a...

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Making or Breaking: Mentoring in Education

(0) Comments | Posted 18 July 2012 | (22:55)

Having just been at the national opening ceremony of the Teach First Summer Institute 2012, I have been considering the fate of all 997 of those smiling, fresh-faced new teachers. They are about to embark on one of the hardest journeys a young professional can experience; they are about to...

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Techno-Literacy: Lifting Limits in Education

(2) Comments | Posted 13 June 2012 | (00:00)

Watching a close friend's 18-month-old son play with his mother's iPad and seeing even at that age, he knew what to do with the device made me realise that his childhood, teenage years and adulthood will be very different from mine.

Instead of feeling nostalgia for the days when...

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Exam Season Blues: Why 45 Minutes is Not Enough

(0) Comments | Posted 26 May 2012 | (00:00)

Nothing beats the stress and tension of exam season if you work in a secondary school. For students, exam season is a wake-up call, one of the first moments that they realise there are some situations where only their own brain and effort will get them through. For teachers, exam...

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The Perfect English Lesson: Not What We Thought All Along!

(1) Comments | Posted 12 April 2012 | (17:14)

If there's one thing English teachers should read before they go back to work on Monday, it is the Ofsted document entitled 'Moving English Forward'. It is always interesting to hear what Ofsted inspectors think of any kind of lesson, but nothing really prepared me for the full,...

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Teacher Strikes: Is There a New Form of Protest?

(8) Comments | Posted 29 March 2012 | (00:00)

I have to admit ambivalence about yesterday's NUT strike in London. I went to work, not because I disagree with the concept of fighting for my pension, but for the rather more prosaic reason that I belong to another union, who did not choose to strike this time.


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